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Archive for December, 2010

REVIEW! Five Flavors of Dumb.

Dec
30

2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

Five Flavors of Dumb
Antony John

FROM THE COVER:

The Challenge: Piper has one month to get the rock band Dumb a paying gig.

The Deal: If she does it, Piper will become the band’s manager and get her share of the profits.

The Catch: How can Piper possibly manage one egomaniacal pretty boy, one talentless piece of eye candy, one crush, one silent rocker, and one angry girl? And how can she do it when she’s deaf?

Piper can’t hear Dumb’s music, but with growing self-confidence, a budding romance, and a new understanding of the decision her family made to buy a cochlear implant for her deaf baby sister, she discovers her own inner rock star and what it truly means to be a flavor of Dumb.

My rating: 4 stars.
MY THOUGHTS:
?Creative, fast-paced.  Descriptive in a way that doesn’t make Piper’s deafness blatantly obvious. 
Piper is a great character all around; she’s nice, spunky, mean, flirty. Wholesome. Her brother, Finn, is just as great, although he takes longer to develop. Never really understood the deal with their parents, though.
As for the band, Dumb, I’m a bit torn. I didn’t feel anything for any of the members. Except Ed. Ed is that secondary character you wish would star in a much bigger way than he’s permitted.
The writing balances description and dialogue very nicely. But I still have a few problems with Five Flavors of Dumb.  Namely, the deaf jokes. At first, I realize they’re put in place to serve as an obstacle for Piper to overcome. But then their appearances happen more frequently, and it just seems beyond unnecessary, especially when, every time, Piper shrugs them off. As a reader, I get it: she’s grown stronger. I don’t need it beaten into my head.
For once, I also had a problem with the length of the novel. I know that seems odd, but I feel as though the story could’ve ended much sooner than it did. But instead, John made the choice to tie up every loose end. And I mean every. And while I love when everything comes together in the end, Five Flavors of Dumb does it in a way that’s just repetitive and drawn out; nothing’s added to the story because of it. No extra oomph, no nothing. Just more of the same story.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice read. It just doesn’t stand out to me.

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REVIEW! Infinite Days.

Dec
28

5 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

Infinite Days
Rebecca Maizel

FROM THE COVER:

“Throughout all my histories, I found no one I loved more than you… no one.”


Those were some of Rhode’s last words to me. The last time he would pronounce his love. The last time I would see his face.

It was the first time in 592 years I could take a breath. Lay in the sun. Taste. Rhode sacrificed himself so I, Lenah Beaudonte, could be human again. So I could stop the blood lust.

I never expected to fall in love with someone else who wasn’t Rhode. But Justin was…daring. Exciting. More beautiful than I could dream. I never expected to be sixteen again…but then again, I never expected my past to come back and haunt me.
My rating: 4 stars.
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MY THOUGHTS:
?I like that Infinite Days has vampires in their more primitive states. Strangely enough, it was refreshing to read about them without the extra pizzazz (like sparkles and superhuman strength). Unfortunately, my feelings are torn about this novel.

Lenah is a good, strong and flawed character. But Justin is not. He’s the typical pretty boy/jock, yet sensitive. The dynamic didn’t really work for me. It was nice but iffy at the same time. Lenah wants him because he’s beautiful, and Justin wants her because she’s beautiful. That made the basis of their relationship both shallow and unbelievable to me. However, once together, they made more sense and grew as a couple.

Lenah’s friend Tony is a great additional character. Unfortunately he never gets the chance to shine. And his relationship? Pitiful, sudden and random.

The plot is disjointed. Flashbacks don’t actually hinder the storyline. The problem is that there’s no buildup to any of the major plot points. There’s a nice chunk of story for so long, then bam! Sudden change out of nowhere. Oh, those characters are together now? Oh, that character is dead now? …Why? I don’t like when I have to ask why, because it means something got lost in translation. And unfortunately, many of the reasons behind this plot got lost on me.

Good news is the writing itself is strong. It relies heavily upon description, which at times is repetitive, but it’s done well. The dialogue is nothing special, but it works.

Ultimately Infinite Days is a strong, depictive novel of vampiric teenage love. It’s just a bit lacking in a stable plot.

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COMING SOON! & Happy Holidays!

Dec
24

6 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

I hope everyone travels safely and has lots of fun with their families and friends!
Make sure to eat lots of cookies, have some hot cocoa, and keep warm!
In other news, keep a look out for my upcoming review of Rebecca Maizel’s Infinite Days. ?
And also, another Grammar Bit!

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What You Want Wednesday (1).

Dec
23

4 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

This is an awesome new reader/writer friendly meme, brought to us by Savannah at The Reading Girl!
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“Since we’re nearing the very end of the year, I’m sure you’ve all noticed certain trends in YA fiction. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, certain genres have skyrocketed to the forefront of the best-seller list. Which genre do you feel was neglected during 2010, and which one do you think got maybe a little too much loving?”
Without a doubt, Paranormal Romance has taken over the best-seller list. It’s featured everywhere. And, as I just recently posted, it’s gotten its own section in Barnes and Noble. It’s not that it’s gotten too much loving, it’s gotten all the loving.  This wouldn’t be such a problem for me if I liked reading paranormal romances, though.
I really feel that contemporary fiction was neglected. Between the vampires, faeries, witches, mermaids, and historical YA books, contemporary fiction definitely took the back seat. Don’t get me wrong. I love vampires and faeries.  But my heart belongs to contemporary fiction, and there just wasn’t enough of it going around and getting attention. 

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News: YA section divided?

Dec
20

11 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

I’ve noticed it now for a few months. The not-so-subtle change. The in-your-face signs.

The YA section in Barnes and Noble has changed, and not for the better, in my opinion.

It used to be that there was a shelf for New Releases, then YA fiction, nonfiction and series. But a new division has thrown itself into the mix: Paranormal Romance.

I understand that paranormal romance novels have been cranked out at an alarming rate this past year, but do they really deserve their own section? At the Barnes and Nobles I’ve visited, it’s the same few occupying a whole two to three shelves on their own (Torment, Hush, Hush, Halo … the list goes on). I honestly wouldn’t mind this new division if it wasn’t being thrown in my face. I don’t like that the regular YA fiction has been cast aside to neighboring shelves, entirely separate, getting less recognition. It’s as if they’re the rejected books, even though we very well know they’re not.

So why make such a big visual division?

Maybe it’s just me that’s unhappy about the change. Maybe it’s because I don’t enjoy reading paranormal romances. But what do you think? Yea or nay?

Here’s an article about the change.

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In My Mailbox (4).

Dec
19

3 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

This meme originates over at The Story Siren.

Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler.

I’ve heard nothing but things about this book, and have read countless positive reviews. Already forty pages in and loving it!

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REVIEW! The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie.

Dec
19

1 COMMENT • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

(Hardback and paperback, respectively.)
The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie
Jaclyn Moriarty?
FROM THE COVER:
Bindy Mackenzie is the smartest girl at Ashbury High. She memorizes class outlines to help her teachers. She records transcripts of everything said around her. She offers helpful critiques for her fellow students. And she wears crazy nail polish to show she’s a free spirit.


But then Bindy’s life begins to fall apart. She can’t stop feeling sleepy and she fails an exam for the first time ever. And-worst of all-she just doesn’t care. What could be the cause of all these strange events? Is it conspiracy? Is it madness? Is it . . . murder?


Lots of people hate Bindy Mackenzie-but who would actually want to kill her? The answer is in Bindy’s transcripts. The detectives are her fellow students. But Bindy has made every one of them into an enemy . . . and time is running out.

My rating: 3 stars.
MY THOUGHTS:
?I had high hopes for this novel because I really enjoyed Moriarty’s The Year of Secret Assignments. But The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie is bizarre.

The story is told through Mindy’s viewpoint, in the form of diary-like entries; some are lists, some are ramblings. Mindy’s got a type-A personality: she’s proper, a perfectionist, hopelessly arrogant in what she thinks is a nice manner. Sometimes her personality is utterly ridiculous and comes off humorous. Other times it’s just plain annoying. I sure didn’t form any connection to her. She’s too outlandish in her nitpicking – like a cartoon character.

The other characters are so-so. Basically, they each represent a stereotype, and sometimes break free from it. The typical, Well that was unexpected of someone like them! situation.

The plot isn’t any better. For the entire novel the plot takes you in one direction, then right at the end it abruptly changes course. And it didn’t work for me. At all. Everything suddenly seemed out of place and the story tried to turn itself into a murder/mystery.

The writing itself works. It’s fitting. There’s not too much of either dialogue or description. There’s a balance. It just doesn’t save this mishmash of a story.

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News: Feature!

Dec
18

2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

Happy Friday!
Today I’m featured in a blogger interview over at Sarah’s blog:
Stop by and find out how you can be featured, too!
 And while you’re at it, check out her fabulous reviews and food blog.
Or the adorable pictures of her cat.

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Book Blogger Hop & Follow Friday (18).

Dec
17

16 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

Book Blogger Hop

I came across the Hop while I was blog hopping – how appropriate! – and decided to join in on the fun.

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly thing going on over at Crazy-for-Books. If you’re a new blogger, like I am, or have been blogging for a while, stop by the sites and get involved!

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Weekly question: What do you consider the most important in a story: the plot or the characters?

Definitely the characters. If a story has AWESOME characters, I can overlook a so-so plot. I don’t read for the plot itself. I read for the journey of the character(s) within that plot.

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REVIEW! Adios, Nirvana.

Dec
15

1 COMMENT • This post is filed under: Uncategorized •

Adios, Nirvana
Conrad Wesselhoeft

FROM THE COVER:

When you piss off a bridge into a snowstorm, it feels like you’re connecting with eternal things. Paying homage to something or someone. But who? The Druids? Walt Whitman? No, I pay homage to one person only, my brother, my twin.
In life. In death.
Telemachus.
 Since the death of his brother, Jonathan’s been losing his grip on reality. Last year’s Best Young Poet and gifted guitarist is now Taft High School’s resident tortured artist, when he bothers to show up. He’s on track to repeat eleventh grade, but his English teacher, his principal, and his crew of Thicks (who refuse to be seniors without him) won’t sit back and let him fail.

My rating: 4 stars.
MY THOUGHTS:
Cannot express how much I enjoyed this book. It’s a whirlwind of good characters, descriptions, and writing.
Jonathan is deep, insightful and creative, but not to an overwhelming degree. There are lighthearted, purely comical moments. The dialogue is a bit iffy; there’s an excessive use of whoa! and ching! and other strange exclamations. And the romance… well, it doesn’t exist. What little there is isn’t worth having. It fits, but isn’t one hundred percent convincing.
The friends aren’t characterized – essentially they’re just names stuck to one adjective. For example, Nick. He is nice. Ta da. They’re not by any means useless. They just don’t add or take away from the story. Pretty free-floating. Wish they’d been included more, especially Nick.
Not so sure the parents served any real purpose. Felt like there was more building with them, but the end cut off the rest of their story, which was a shame because they’re characterized well. You get a good sense of who they are, but you never get the why.
The writing itself is beautiful. Poetical. Even though it’s not written as poetry. Jonathan’s voice is very distinct and boyish, yet thoughtful. Sure, he eases his pain with writing and reading and music, which are all typical cures, but it’s the way he does so that makes the story unique.
And Telly – he’s not there, but his character is something special. It’s a great touch. The brother connection stands out most throughout the entire story, and it doesn’t sound repetitive or cliché. It’s pure.
Adios, Nirvana doesn’t go above and beyond, but it’s solid.?

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